Smt. Sinisha E. K., Junior Research Fellow (UGC)
Molecular and phylogenetic analysis of Limnophila R.Br. (Plantaginaceae) in India



Aquatic plants have great importance in the ecosystem development and remediation of polluted aquatic bodies. Many aquatic plants are particularly difficult to identify using morphological characters alone due to their often-reduced floral characters and convergent vegetative morphology. Molecular methods are important tools for identifying appropriate population sources for reforestation of these unique and important habitats.

In order to elaborate a conservation strategy of aquatic plants, I am interested in the analysis of the genetic relationship of selected members of Limnophila belongs to the family Plantaginaceae. As the name indicates Limnophila are aquatic herbs inhabited in marshy habitat. There are about 40 species of Limnophila known across the world. In India the genus is represented by 14 species out of which 8 are known to occur in Kerala. Several species of Limnophila are highly variable and are taxonomically difficult to delimit due to minute diagnostic characters. Hence taxonomic as well as molecular taxonomic tools are used for the clear understanding of genetic variation and taxonomic revision of the genus Limnophila. Majority of the Limnophila spp. are medicinally valuable and are occupying a significant position in traditional systems viz. Ayurveda and folk medicines. Most of the species are highly aromatic too.



Smt. Jaseela V T, Junior Research Fellow (CSIR)
Molecular systematicsof the genus Hygrophila R. Br. (Acanthaceae) in India

Plant systematics has been revolutionized during the past decade by the application of molecular techniques. Molecular systematics has significantly improved our perceptions of evolutionary patterns and processes in plants. Aquatic plants exhibit striking taxonomic, morphological and ecological diversity. This variation limits the ability to pose general hypotheses with regards to evolutionary processes in aquatic plants. Molecular methods are important tools for identifying appropriate population sources for reforestation of aquatic habitats.

Hygrophila R.Br. commonly known as ‘swamp weeds’ are found in aquatic or semi-aquatic habitats. Most of the species of Hygrophila are very plastic and there are considerable taxonomic confusions. In the present study, molecular tools will also be employed along with conventional taxonomic keys for status assessment of the species and to elucidate phylogenetic relationship among the members of Hygrophila R. India.



Smt. Athulya Sadanand C P, Junior Project Fellow
In vitro multiplication and synthesis of nanoparticles using selected medicinal plant extracts and its biomedical applications.

Over exploitation of plant species for medicinal purposes may result in the destruction of its natural populations. So, in vitro propagation will provide an alternate source for these plants in a limited time and space. Eclipta prostrata (L.) L., Euphorbia thymifolia L., Cyanthillium cinereum (L.) H.Rob., Piper longum L., Tinospora cordifolia(Willd.) Miers. are the selected medicinal plant species. In the present study we will be developing an efficient protocol for micropropagation and biosynthesis of nanoparticles for these plants. Finally by comparative analysis, efficacy of nanoparticles synthesized from indirect regeneration (callus tissue) and plants from its natural habitat will be identified for the best drug source.



Mr. Mithun Venugopal, Junior Project Fellow
Biology of Hopea ponga (Dennst). Mabb, (Dipterocarpaceae) an endemic and endangered tree species of Western Ghats

The genus Hopea in Kerala state is represented by 6 species. Most of the species under Hopea are under threatened category especially due to poor regeneration and anthropogenic factors. The recalcitrant behaviour of seeds, lack of seed longevity, low seed viability and the absence of regular good seed year, etc. are the major factors behind the poor regeneration. The present programme is envisaged to analyze the phenology, seed development, germination, desiccation and storage behavior of the seeds of Hopeaponga with the biochemical changes related to desiccation and storage. H. ponga is a Critically Endangered species (IUCN, 2018) restricted to the Western Ghats of Kerala to Maharashtra.



Ms. Pooja Pushkaran, Junior Research Fellow (CSIR)
Bioprospecting of the endophytes from selected medicinal aquatic plants

Endophytic microbes are an interesting group of organisms associated with several parts of plants without causing any harm to its host. Endophytes have the ability to produce the same or similar bioactive chemicals which share the mutual beneficiary factors as those originated from their host plants with medicinal value, antagonistic activity, enzymatic activity and plant growth promotion. The aquatic plants in Kerala are of greatest medicinal importance as that of the herbal plants. In the present study focuses an attempt to the isolation of endophytes from the native medicinal aquatic plants and to characterize the isolates using various aspects such as antimicrobial activity and antioxidant activity of secondary metabolites extracted from the cultures, isolation of the specific compounds and chemical profiling.



Mr. Harshid P., Junior Project Fellow
Conservation of Crinum malabaricum Lekhak & S. R. Yadav, (Amaryllidaceae): A critically endangered species through biotechnological approaches

Crinum malabaricum Lekhak & S.R. Yadav or Malabar waterlily (Amaryllidaceae) is a large aquatic perennial plant, endemic to northern Kerala and categorized under critically endangered category according to IUCN criteria (2016).The plant have poor dispersal and limited distribution and also all the natural habitats of this species are disturbed by anthropogenic activities and their populations are diminishing drastically. Hence there is an urgent need to develop appropriate conservation strategies to protect this species.

The present study uses modern tools such as ecological niche modelling, molecular marker analysis, phylogenetic analysis and phenological studies to understand the population bottlenecks and limiting factors in the survival of the population of C. malabaricum, and also aims to integrate both in-situ and ex-situ conservation measures for the successful conservation of C. malabaricum.



Mr. Bibin Joseph., Junior Project Fellow
Bioprospecting of lichens of the genus Parmotrema (Parmeliaceae) in Kerala

The symbiotic association nature can be well illustrated with Lichens and they are significant as the first inhabitants in bare rock, source of perfumery food and medicine etc. people start to exploit lichens as source of dye n and perfumery from ancient period onwards. Even though the high lands Western Ghats eastern Ghats and Himalayas are rich n lichens the lichenology and systematic of lichens has not addressed adequately.

The present study aims to elucidate the diversity of lichen genus Parmotrema in Western Ghats Kerala and its bioprospection in molecular aspect and also in phytochemical level. Molecular studies help to resolves the existing challenges of species delimitation and the phytochemical studies will help to elucidate the useful compounds n lichens and all the information gather will combined and bioprospect the genus Parmotrema for medicinal and industrial applications.


Research Scholars Alumni

Dr. Anoop K P., Junior Project Fellow
Taxonomic Analysis of the genus Fimbristylis Vahl (Cyperaceae) in South India

45 species of Fimbristylis Vahl were recognised from South India with updated nomenclature, detailed taxonomic descriptions, colour photographs, Illustrations, details of flowering and fruiting, habitat and distribution through this study. All the collected specimens preserved as herbarium sheets and deposited at MBGH. Out of the 45 species recognised, 15 species are endemic to the study area. In the present study 5 species were reported as new to the study area, viz., F. dimorphonucifera, F. bispicula, F. pierotii, F. schultzii and F. subdura. F. narayani Fischer is typified. Live specimens of all the collected specimens were brought to KSCSTE – MBGIPS to establish a live germplasm and planted in aquatic plant conservatory (Aquagene).



Dr. Saranya Babu Jayaprakash C.M., Junior Project Fellow
Phenological behaviour and in vitro conservation of Celastrus paniculatus Willd. (Celastraceae) and Symplocos cochinchinensis (Lour.) S. Moore (Symplocaceae).

The phenological behaviour of two threatened medicinal plant species, Celastrus paniculatus and Symplocos cochinchinensis were studied in their different natural populations over a period of three years. The periodic events (leaf fall, leaf flushing, flowering, fruiting, seed set and dispersal) of these plants and their response to various climatic factors such as rainfall, temperature and humidity were studied. The major issues related to the diminishing population of these plants were identified.An efficient in vitro protocol for micropropagation and conservation of these plants were standardized. Molecular profiling of these tissue culture raised plants using RAPD primers showed 100% similarity to their mother plants, confirming their true to type nature.



Dr. Swetha Thilak T., Junior Project Fellow
Molecular Systematics of the Blue-green algae Nostoc spp. and Anabaena spp. (Nostocales) of Kerala

In this study native species of Nostoc and Anabaena were collected from different districts of Kerala. 20 isolations were made axenic in BG-11 medium. The isolations belong to 10 species of Nostoc and 4 species of Anabaena. Detailed description colour illustrations and taxonomic keys of these were prepared. The molecular data were analysed by 16s rDNA sequences. 16 native strains belonging to Nostoc and Anabaena were successfully deposited in the GenBank, which was the first to be done from Kerala. The phylogenetic tree of the native strains was constructed. The native strains were also compared with the corresponding sequences available in the GenBank. The phylogenetic data revealed that two of the strains MBG-AL214 and MBG-AL313 belonging to Nostoc were new.



Dr. Sojan Jose., Junior Project Fellow
Diversity and Ecology of Wetland Vascular Plants of Palakkad District, Kerala

The study focusing the wetland vascular plants has successfully enumerated 237 species of angiosperms belonging to 136 genera under 62 families along with ten wetland pteridophytes classified under 9 families and ten genera. The study was successful in discovering Oldenlandia dineshii Sojan & V Suresh as a floristic novelty from Palakkad. Two species i.e., Enydra fluctuans Lour. and Cyperus platyphyllus Roemer &Schultes. are new distributional records for the flora of Kerala. Eleven Species were reported as new distributional record for Palakkad. Regarding the growth forms, halophytes formed the major group which accounted for 47. 7 % of the total species recorded. Twenty-nine species of angiosperms recorded were endemic to different geographical regions. Thirteen species of angiosperms and one species of pteridophyte are found to be alien invasive of the wetlands of Palakkad.



Dr. Rajilesh V K, Junior Project Fellow
Systematic studies on the Bryophyte flora of Mathikettan Shola National Park, Kerala, India.

The study was conducted at the Mathikettan Shola National Park during the period 2012-19 and reported 104 species of Bryophytes belonging to 71 genera under 45 families and 17 orders. Among the three phylums, Marchantiophyta (liverworts) comprise 30 species belonging to 19 genera and 16 families, Anthocerotophyta (hornworts) with one species and Bryophyta (mosses) represented by 73 species belonging to 51 genera and 25 families. Hypnales is the largest order with 13 families followed by Jungermanniales with 5 families, Dicranales and Marchantiales each with 4 species, Hookeriales and Porellales each with 3 species each, Bryales and Metzgeriales with 2 species each and 10 orders are represented by single families each.

Jungermannia comate Nees., Daltonia marginata Griff., Entodon nepalensis Mizush., Leptopterigynandrum decolor (Mitt.) M. Fleisch., Meiothecium microcarpum (Harv.) Mitt., Rhynchostegiella menadensis (Sande Lac.) E.B. Bartram. And Rhynchostegiella scabriseta (Schwagr.) Broth. are newly reported from Peninsular India. Calycularia crispula Mitt., Chiloscyphus campanulatus Steph., Lejeunea obscura Mitt., Metzgeria lindbergii Schiffn., Brachythecium formosanum Takaki, Entodon chloropus Ren. & Card., Homalia trichomanoides (Hedw.) Schimp., Hookeriopsis utacamundiana (Mont.) Broth., Pterobryopsis pilifolia (Dixon) Magill., Trachypodopsis serrulata (P. Beauv.) M. Fleisch., Wijkia deflexifolia (Ren. & Card.) Crum. are new records to the state of Kerala. Habitat and ecological analysis revealed that out of the 104 taxa identified 90 were found to be occurred in the shola forest areas and 52 were of west coast tropical evergreen forest and 14 were from grasslands. 58 taxa were identified to be truly epiphytic and 31 as exclusively terrestrial. The rest were found to be epiphytic as well as terrestrial habitat.



Dr. Prajitha B., Junior Project Fellow
Eco-Systematic studies on Bryophytes of Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala

Comprehensive field studies were conducted during 2012-2018 in different seasons and collected more than thousands of specimens of bryophytes from Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary. Among these a total of 130 species of bryophytes from an area of 74.2 sq. km, belonging to 84 genera and 38 families are identified. Among the 130 species one species is proposed as new to science. The genus Bryocrumia is known by a single species till date. The proposed species adds the second species of the genus from India. The present study resulted in recording new distributional records such as three species to India, five to Peninsular India and 10 species to Kerala. The study also recorded populations of 10 endemic species to India.



Smt. Pavisha. P., Junior Project Fellow
Taxonomy and Reproductive Biology of Nymphoides spp. (Menyanthaceae) in Kerala

Nymphoides Seg. is an emergent aquatic plant comes under the family Menyanthaceae. During the study (2015–2019) seven Nymphoides spp. were collected from different areas in Kerala. The species identification and morphological study was done using conventional taxonomic methods. N. indica and N. hydrophylla are found to be common in Kerala while species like N. balakrishnanii, N. krishnakesara, N. macrosperma, N. sivarajanii, N. palyi, etc. are highly endemic to certain seasonal ponds and streams in the state. The study revealed that N. parvifolia and N. balakrishnanii are closely related species and shows highest affinities. N. krishnakesara and N. macrosperma also shows highest affinities among them. The major pollinators of Nymphoides species are Notiphila spp. (N. indica, N.krishnakesara, N. hydrophilla, N.macrosperma and N.parvifolia), Bagous spp. (N.indica), Lasioglossum mutilum (N.indica) Componotus sericeous and Xya spp (N. balakrishnanii). Vegetative reproduction is prominent in all the studied species of Nymphoides. All these studied species are conserved in the Aquatic conservatory of Malabar Botanical Garden and Institute for Plant Sciences.